Zack Whedon, Georges Jeanty; Executive Producer Joss Whedon
Dark Horse Comics
Issues 1 and 2 have laid the foundation, but issue 3 is where were start to see the subplots come into play.
With Zoe being held by the Alliance, River taps into her brain to see if there are any other secrets the crew can use against the Alliance to help get Zoe back. Meanwhile, a certain bounty hunter has found his way onto the ship.
Issue 3 brings us to the halfway point in the limited run series. The series keeps the perfect tone of the Firefly TV series and Serenity film. That and bringing back characters we’ve come to know and extending their story continue to make this series solid. Unlike issues 1 and 2, this issue felt a little flat emotionally as the subplots start to diverge.
And I don’t appear to be the only one who’s digging it. When I recently purchased issue 3, my local comic shop owner said he’d had to re-order issues several times because they’re hard to keep on the shelves. As a shop owner, he wishes they’ll continue to create more. As a fan, I second that hope.
The title “Lies, Lies, Lies” says it all. This issue is about lying liars.
The opening page depicts two citizens of the crew’s current planet haggling while shit-talk commences about Grant McKay. The conversation continues onto the next page, revealing a lounging Kadir and Shondra discussing McKay. Kadir knows him to be presumptuous and self righteous and is baffled by his popularity. Shondra smiles as she leans close to Kadir’s ear and tells him what he wants to hear: “[McKay] tells them what they want to hear. People love liars.” Kadir’s response kicks us off into a tailspin of what is real with his response: “If that’s true … Why do they hate us?”
Nobody on the Anarchist League of Scientists can trust their crew members. Friendships are being challenged, the family bond is weakened, and romantic intrigues are sabotaged. Beyond human deception, the fabric of reality itself has been disrupted by their experiment, and the likelihood of their ever returning home is minuscule. But they lie to each other that they are a solid team, that they will keep the kids safe, and that the next jump could be the one that gets them home. They lie because admitting the truth would be admitting that they are in danger, they will probably never make it home, and that it’s every man for himself. The lies are the gravity holding them together, and to inject truth will send them hurtling apart.
The crew members are aliens in the worlds they are entering. At best they can only guess about the people and cultures they encounter. Their current location is seemingly not at war, but they do not actually know if it is a safe place or not. Some members suggest remaining there until they can fix the pillar, but ultimately every living crew member is present for the next jump regardless of where it may take them. There is no such thing as an ideal living situation regardless of surface appearance. Safety is not a possibility until they are home (and maybe not even then).
Perception of reality is further muddled by the appearance of an older, haggard McKay. Once the possibility of multiple iterations of a person is introduced so is the potential for doubles. Throughout the entire second half of the comic, we do not know what is happening with anyone outside of McKay, Pia, and Nate. Anyone could have been replaced with another version of themselves. Not only can we not trust what the characters say, we cannot trust that they are who they say they are.
Soon even the existence of the inhabitants of the other universes is put to question as McKay Senior murders them with a flippant “they aren’t real” as his justification. Many of McKay Senior’s statements are questionable. He constantly implores the kids to trust him as he kidnaps them and kills innocent bystanders, but his claims break down under examination. He says that the people are not real, but this does not make sense. The universes they have visited have had food, water, and technology available. Therefore, the organic material of the planets does exist and saying that the creatures that live there are not real does not jive.
Another fishy claim is that every McKay in every reality gets his kids killed. McKay Senior includes himself in this group and uses this to convince McKay Junior that Pia and Nate will be safest with him and their Other Mom. But by all logic, if every McKay always manages to lose his children, this McKay will lose them, too.
When the set of fake parents fail to kidnap the kids, they warn McKay Junior that “We’ll be back for our kids,” quickly followed by a warning that Kadir is the saboteur. It’s hard to believe tip-offs from a murderous, kidnapping version of yourself, but McKay goes with it and attacks Kadir as the pillar transports them.
Once they reach their new location, the group immediately disintegrates into accusations, lies, and–most damaging of all–truths. The crew must begin to accept the realities and unrealities of the situation if they want to survive. And they should probably look out for those giant, red-eyed, hairy apes watching them fight.